LML: The Final Days (Dun dun DUHHHH)

July 25, 2011
After five weeks of rehearsals, classes, performances, and spiders, my epic adventure has come to its end.  Unsurprisingly, my final days in Italy were just as busy and exciting as all those previous. 

Thursday marked my final Don Bucefalo Performance, held at the Teatro in Novafeltria. I started the day off by having a lesson with Dr. Breault, where we worked “Poor Wandering One.” I feel like I learned more about my voice in that one hour than I had the entire 5 weeks here. The techniques Dr. Breault gave me opened up my voice and gave it a spin—which he helped me to sustain on high E’s, I might add—that I had not known I was able to produce. He worked with me privately first, then took me over to the Teatro to where Jeffery was and had me sing for the two of them. It felt completely different and by the end of it I felt like I had just run a marathon. 

When we get back to the states I will be sitting down with Dr. Breault to discuss possible voice teachers to help me further this new sound, as well as to gain some advice on what I need to do to have the best audition I can for the Masters of Music program at the U.

Yes, I have decided. 

I wasn’t sure about whether I wanted to go back to school or not, and I was definitely unsure whether I would go for psychology or music. After this experience, there is no shadow of doubt in my mind that music is what I am supposed to be doing.

This means I have 6 months to get my voice to be the best it can be before the audition. Phew.

The Don Bucefalo performance was bittersweet. On the one hand, I was so excited for it to be over! No more rehearsals, no more sweating buckets in 40s garb and fairy costumes, no more long hours on busses and lugging set pieces over cobblestone. On the other hand…this was the first opera I had ever been in, and my heart ached as we took our final bows.

Friday was a day of graduation (yes, I passed Italian, yall!), packing, scenes, and goodbyes. Amid this quagmire of activity, Maestro Joe Rescigno decided he wanted to hear me sing. He had asked me the night before, and despite my nerves (the man is…critical…of singers), I accepted. I worried about it all morning, warming up an hour and a half before I was to meet with him. I am not quite sure what I expected—a coaching, a critique, maybe—but whatever I thought it would be like to sing for the Maestro, it was nothing like what happened. Joe grabbed my music (I decided to sing In Van Preghi, since he wanted to hear a Tosti piece), thumbed through it to see if there were any problem spots, then played. I sang. Afterward, he commended the piece, I thanked him deeply, and he was gone.

It was a very very strange encounter.
I was still honored all the same.

After that point, I focused my energies on the two scenes I was to perform that night. Get excited, people, they were taped!!! I should be receiving a DVD shortly after getting to the states. I think they went well, despite my awkwardly attempting to walk like a man in one and my colleague getting a little too excited and pulling out some of my hair in the other. I will be interested to watch the DVD.

My voice has grown so much over this trip. I have noticed it, the faculty I’ve worked with have noticed it, and even faculty I didn’t work with made a point to tell me they noticed a difference. It gives me hope that maybe one day I will be able to make a career of opera. For now, it gives me the resolve I need to work on improving my voice, learning my languages (I need to become conversational in Italian, French, and German at least.), and moving forward.

I didn’t stay out as late as I thought I would that final night in Novafeltria, more because I wasn’t fully packed than anything. I spent hours packing and cleaning, finally crawling into bed around 3:30am. Surprisingly, I woke up promptly at 6, and was to the bus stop by 6:40 with most everyone who was departing.

Someone was missing.

Emily beckoned me over, an unreadable look on her face. Apparently, Jeffery was not there and she couldn’t get ahold of him. She laid out my mission (to make sure Jeffery made it to the bus at all costs), and I gravely accepted it, sprinting up the hill (in heels) to buzz Jeffery’s door.

BUZZ Buzz buzz!!

No answer…


For ten minutes I rang his doorbell, until I finally buzzed the bell below, which was to his Landlady’s apartment. The poor 90-somethin’ little lady unlocked the door and I raced up the steps to Jeffery’s apartment.

Knock Knock Knock!!!



I tried everything. Knocking, ringing the doorbell, kicking the door…no answer. I could even see Jeffery in there, sound asleep on his bed. After 20 minutes of making a racket that would have even woken my brother out of his deepest slumber (Love ya, Dom), I began to worry that perhaps Jeffery decided he didn’t want to go back to the states and passed on!

Worry gripping me, I sprinted back down main street and got reinforcements. Emily, exasperated at this point—as she had been trying to wake him too—made her way up to Jeffery’s apartment with me once more where we made even more racket. Finally, we had to beg the spare key off the land lady (who had surprisingly not succumbed to heart attack at the unearthly noise we had been making), break in, and shake Jeffery violently before he woke up. Thank GOD, he wasn’t dead.

It took him a bit to figure out where he was, and couldn’t seem to understand what all the fuss was about.
Nor did he seem to realize that he was clad only in boxers—a sight that has damaged my brain for life. We promptly took our leave—after figuring out that he was indeed going to get his arse to the bus—at the point that he stumbled into the bathroom, still seemingly unaware that there were two ladies following him around. There’s only so much my poor eyes can witness, and I fled.

It was an interesting morning.

I slept most of the trip back to Rome, partially due to the lack of sleep the night before, partly from the exhaustion of running a 5k in heels that morning, and partly as a way to banish away the melancholy that was slowly settling over me. It was all I could do to keep from crying.

When finally we reached Rome, I had come to terms with the fact that I was leaving this glorious place, but was still coming to terms with leaving the people.

Justin and Irina… Saying goodbye to my two newest friends was far more difficult than I thought it would be. They had been so good to me these last few weeks, and It’s strange to think that I may not ever see them again. However, Dr. Breault is very interested in having Justin come sing for him at the U, and I offered both he and Irina a place to stay if/when they decided to come down. I hope they do.  If not, I might be interested in going to check out Canada (first international flight, Lance? :-D).  They are wonderful people and I will miss them deeply until we meet again.

To be continued…